“Architecture is about public space held by buildings.”- Richard Rogers
An urban landscape where culture, art, and creativity are central matters in its essence of site.
Oriental bay history:
In 1919 a Band Rotunda was erected in Oriental Bay. This typology encouraged public events and cultural encounters between citizens along the waterfront. Besides the fact that said typology was consequent with Wellington´s cultural essence, the design was successful because the building potentiated interactions between users within the public space of the waterfront. Rendering what some architects call an “urban living room”.
Later, in the 1980´s, the city council commissioned a building that gave the community of Oriental Bay a private program but at the same time striped the city of a cultural focal point along the waterfront. Urban life decreased dramatically in the site.
The proposal´s design not only understands the importance of urbanity, it embraces it completely, as it was in 1919. By reducing the required program footprint and elevating it 3 meters above ground, the first floor of the site becomes public space. Said space is modified through topography to outfit the first floor with an amphitheater where the pavilion itself serves as a stage where concerts, performances, and even cinematographic projections can take place.
Nature is also present in this atmosphere, having a close relationship with the existing trees that provide shadow over the theater steps, with new planters that introduce nature into the theater stage, and with the ocean always being a background in this beautiful urban living room.
The first floor of the volume required a public nature, this rendered a vaulted roof that satisfied the structural needs of the building and reminded of the structure that sat on the site on 1919. By covering said space with timber sheets and having a close relationship to the water, a warm and personal atmosphere was achieved. Art exhibitions, gatherings, and weddings are some of the uses this space is able to hold.
Inside the monolithic volume, the user encounters a space that is only touched by skylight. A quiet atmosphere dedicated to the community, a learning and working space where local art can be exhibited through the volume´s concrete walls. Timber is also an important material in this atmosphere, giving the meeting rooms a warm and private atmosphere.
The Oriental Bay Pavilion is a space that strengthens urbanity through public and cultural encounters in Wellington´s urban waterfront. A place where landscape and edifice meet to create a relevant, innovative, and moving design.